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Journalism Advice

Join Us Tomorrow for a Career Lunch Hangout With BuzzFeed’s Copy Chief

Career-Lunch2Get ready for another Career Lunch Google+ Hangout! Tune in tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET as Mediabistro managing editor Valerie Berrios and MediaJobsDaily editor and career expert Vicki Salemi chat with BuzzFeed’s copy chief, Emmy Favilla, who has taught copy editing at Mediabistro. Favilla will give advice on breaking into copy editing and getting your foot in the door at a site like BuzzFeed.

Favilla was copy chief at Teen Vogue and has worked as a staff and freelance copy editor for Seventeen, Natural Health, Domino, Blender and Lucky.

Join the conversation with your questions and comments on TwitterFacebook or Google+ with the hashtag #mbhangouts.

Is It Time to Rethink Brand Journalism?

Brand-Journalism-ArticleGiven the current state of the journalism industry, not to mention the economy as a whole, many journalists these days are turning to content marketing to supplement their income. Although some journos may cringe at the thought of writing a sponsored post, there are indisputable benefits to writing for a brand.

Not only is the pay generally better than freelance gigs, but writing for various brands can also help you learn about new industries and stretch your writing muscles. Also, it’s one of the few industries that’s actually on the upswing:

Since traditional newsrooms don’t have the resources to support obscure beats, many high-profile reports and columnists are starting their own outfits. Minimal funds mean publishers need creative brands to come in and imagine smart marketing strategies, including producing quality content, in the form of blog posts, social media posts and visual stuff. Enter, you: The freelance journalist with the skills to help publishers help their advertisers promote themselves on a big platform.

For more advice on transitioning into content marketing, read: 7 Reasons to Break Into Brand Journalism.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Building a Brand: Key to a More Creative Career

Creative-Career-ArticleTransitioning from corporate life to a freelance career that showcases your creativity can be hugely rewarding. But it takes more than setting up shop at home, sending pitches and cranking out articles.

Freelance writers have to remember that being self-employed means they are their own brand. And cultivating a positive reputation through proven results is key to getting noticed in such a crowded field:

Dawn Papandrea, a writer from Staten Island, says that being self-employed means you always have homework, so to speak. “Between deadlines, you need to market yourself and pitch for new assignments to ensure that you have a steady flow of work,” she says. “Sometimes, you’ll be inundated, and other times you’ll be slow. It’s important to manage your time well, and be willing to make up some extra hours if you hope to take some time off. You also need to be diligent about bookkeeping, invoicing and other money matters.”

For more advice, including how to vary your sources of income, read: Making the Leap to a Creative Career.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Maintain Your Connection With a Mentor

How-To-Land-Mentor-ArticleHaving a mentor can do wonders for your career. Knowing that you have someone you can go to for sage career advice, support and encouragement is incredibly valuable.

Just keep in mind that as the mentee you should drive the relationship. This includes following up periodically to keep lines of communication open:

While the mentor needs to set aside time in his or her calendar to invest in you, you need to be just as invested, if not more. If you’re not willing to take the initiative and set up meetings and follow through, you’re simply not going to get much out of the exchange. Maintaining consistent communication is key to ensuring the professional relationship you built stays strong for months or years to come. You never know when you might seek your mentor’s guidance once again.

For more advice, including questions to ask yourself before searching for a mentor, read: How to Land a Mentor to Boost Your Career.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

A Man of the Church Offers Some Pro-Journalism Tips

CardinalDolanPicWhen in the “Rome” of pitching a story to 21st century media folks, Catholic Church reps could do far worse than follow the advice of New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.

Per a Catholic News Service report by Cindy Wooden, the Cardinal very frankly and thoughtfully shared some of the lessons he has learned about how to best deal with the media. The remarks were made during an April 28 keynote address to the School of Church Communications at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross:

“The days of old, fat, balding bishops being the best spokespeople is long gone, if they were ever really here at all,” he said…

Read more

Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Journalist

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For freelancers, figuring out where you shine — and what you need to work on — is a great way to grow and learn more about your craft.

In our latest Journalism Advice column, we got the scoop from several veteran editors on what they’re looking for in a freelancer. One surprising takeaway: some editors are more likely to be won over by a unique story idea than your artful prose. Of course, if you excel at both writing and reporting, you are way ahead of the game.

[Lisa Haney, senior health editor of Fitness] says, “I’m looking for some good balance, somebody who knows how to dig and get good quotes from experts, and to be able to synthesize information into a straightforward voice.” It requires little effort for editors to finesse your work — after all, “edit” is in their job title. On the other hand, scoping out a hot story about a miracle weight-loss supplement or an underground fitness trend that’s sweeping the nation? Not so quick and easy to do.

For more advice, including how to make your editor’s job easier, read: What Editors Really Want From Writers.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Get Your Personal Essay Published on Salon.com

PersonalEssaysIV-ArticleIn Part I, Part II and Part III of our Personal Essay Markets series, we covered 45 different print pubs all eager for your true stories. In the fourth and final installment of the series, we’re focusing on digital outlets.

We spoke with editors from 15 different online-only pubs, including Babble.com and Narratively, to find out what they’re looking for in a personal essay. Here, a Salon.com editor shares her advice:

Salon essays can be on any subject matter, but hot topics are families/parenting, sex and relationships, personal finance, body image, and pop culture.
Length: Varies, but roughly 1,500 words
Pay: $100 and up
Assigning editor: Sarah Hepola, SHEPOLA at SALON dot COM
Hepola’s advice: ”We’re looking for extraordinarily true life tales. I always ask writers to think of a story that only they can tell.”

To hear from the editors of outlets like Aeon Magazine and The Rumpus, read: Personal Essay Markets,Part IV.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How Community Engagement Can Help You Get Out of a Writing Rut

Ongoing-Education-ArticleAlthough freelancing can be a liberating career, it can also be a lonely and stressful one. The isolation of working by yourself and the daily grind of chasing leads can be exhausting.

In our latest Journalism Advice column, one writer shares how she reignited her creativity after being stuck in a rut. The author had three (relatively) simple goals: get involved with real-life community engagement, take up a passion project and update her social media presence. Here, the writer shares her advice for meeting new people within your community:

If you’re interested in coworking, try searching “coworking” or “shared work space,” followed by your city. In addition, there’s a global coworking movement called Jelly, which is a less formal meet-up of local freelancers at spaces of their choosing. When it comes to getting out there in the real world, the key is persistence. Great relationships don’t happen overnight. First you have to show up and then you have to keep showing up, often dozens of times, before you see the return on your investment.

For more advice, including how to get the most out of your social media accounts, read: Crafting Your Ongoing Education as a Writer.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Join Our Google+ Hangout Today for Career and Web Design Advice

careerlunch_304-300x197Mediabistro is launching a new series of Google+ Hangouts and you’re invited! The series, called Career Lunch, starts today at 1 p.m. ET and will feature media professionals sharing their best tips and tricks for staying ahead of the job curve.

Today’s Hangout will include MediaJobsDaily editor Vicki Salemi and Mediabistro’s managing editor Valerie Berrios, who will be speaking with Maurice Cherry, creative principal at design firm 3eighteen media. Cherry will give us the lowdown on all things web design, along with advice on using social media and other digital strategies to enhance your career.

Be sure to join the conversation with your questions and comments on TwitterFacebook or Google+ with the hashtag #mbhangouts.

How Fiction Writing Taught One Writer About Perseverance

from-fiction-to-nonfiction-

Transitioning from fiction writing to nonfiction freelancing is a one way to diversify and hone your writing skills.

One writer went through the transition and shared what she learned in our latest Journalism Advice column. The freelancer claims that her background in fiction gave her thick skin, helped her deal with deadlines and taught her the power of perseverance:

The action of constantly reaching, keeping multiple stories circulating in the querysphere, and never wallowing for too long was an amazing gift to my nonfiction career. Persistence as a freelancer is pitching a new idea to the editor who rejected your first idea. It’s complying with an extensive rewrite. It’s chasing down the perfect expert for an interview, no matter how elusive they are or difficult their PR agent is. It’s essential to survival.

For more, including how a background in fiction can help you generate new ideas, read: 5 Ways Fiction Writing Prepared Me for Nonfiction Freelancing.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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